Nearly six years have passed since HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (as Heir Apparent at the time) announced the Qatar National Vision 2030. Since then, not one part of the society has been untouched by the collective drive towards a highly developed, sustainable future for the country. With economic development one of the four pillars of the National Vision, in many respects it can be viewed as an economic blueprint, outlining Qatar’s transformation towards a diversified knowledge-based economy.
As with any blueprint, the success of the National Vision depends on the effectiveness of its implementation. And for a vision of this scale, implementation will naturally involve the efforts of a wide range of stakeholders. The role of the Government has been crucial in establishing the National Vision and it will continue to contribute by wisely guiding the economy and making national investments.
Top-down government spending on large infrastructure, real estate and transport projects planned both before and after Qatar won the 2022 World Cup bid, can account for a large part of Qatar’s strong growth last year in the non-hydrocarbon sector. With a moratorium on further oil and gas development and Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector expected to represent more than half of the GDP (gross domestic product) next year, Qatar has made a strong start to successfully realising the economic pillar of the National Vision.
Combined with the Government’s wise leadership and investments, together with rapid population growth driving demand for consumer goods and services, the self-sustaining growth and vitality of the private sector is key to diversifying income streams and reducing Qatar’s dependence on hydrocarbon wealth. It is perhaps obvious that a thriving private sector supports the economic pillar of the National Vision. However, the private sector can also make a far wider positive contribution to the National Vision in ways that may not be immediately recognisable.
By providing on-the-job education and training for the local workforce, together with rewarding career development programmes, the private sector can play an important part in developing Qatar’s human capital by creating optimal conditions in the workplace that support Qataris to reach their full professional potential. As well as leading the way in improving the quality of the local workforce, there is scope within the private sector to increase the number and types of opportunities offered for Qataris to join local businesses. More positions must be available for Qatari women and the private sector can set an example by achieving a gender balance within workplaces.
In the same vein, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is widely accepted and welcomed in Qatar as a legitimate way that companies can extend their local impact beyond a purely economic nature. The private sector can support the human, social and environmental pillars of the National Vision through credible CSR programmes and these are most effective when they are relevant to a business’s expertise.
Moving on to more strictly economic ways in which the private sector supports the National Vision, local business are taking an increasingly important role in cementing Qatar’s position in the global economy. We are experiencing continually improving standards of corporate governance and levels of competitiveness amongst local businesses, all helping to inspire trust, confidence and ultimately promote trade. Qatar’s economy does not, and cannot, exist independently from the rest of the world and the private sector must continue to encourage domestic and foreign investment and pursue regional and international business economic opportunities.
Finally, entrepreneurs and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) gain a large amount of support in Qatar and rightly so. They are globally recognised as essential drivers for economic diversification, generate jobs and are often at the centre of new innovation. For these simple but compelling reasons, they play a vital role in supporting the National Vision and have justifiably generated a great deal of recent attention. In this context, the private sector must continue to thrust the successful growth of SMEs if the objective of achieving long-term sustainable economic development to transform Qatar into a diversified knowledge-based economy is to be realised.
In conclusion, achieving the National Vision is not the responsibility of one part of society, but rather it requires a symbiotic relationship between all stakeholders. The private sector, in particular, has a crucial role to play in this collaborative effort, and its contribution is more than just an economic one to ensure the success of the Qatar National Vision. Source: Gulf Times